BELLVILLE — The village of Bellville’s Opera House came to life for a time Friday night, when locals the likes of Fritz Ackerman, Jason Potes, and Clint Knight took to the stage to entertain folks.
Ackerman, a sometime writer but also singer and locksmith, entertained the crowd of almost 100 with two songs.
He was first off in the roster of performers. The first song he described as a “gag song.” It was about a one-legged man.
Ackerman told the crowd he used to play for minstrels, and when he did, the organizers, the Lion’s Club, told him he might be needed to “come in and lower the quality of the program.”
There were 17 acts during the evening. They ranged from jazz performers, to vocalists, to cello music, to piano performances.
At the start of the program, it was discovered a lonely bird had made its way into the second floor of the Opera House building. It continued buzzing around the room, occasionally settling on a ledge.
M.C. Doug Wertz told the crowd one of the performers would be soothing the bird with “Bye Bye Black Bird.”
The performers were getting into the spirit of the evening, many of them telling small life stories that partially explained their interest in performing.
Joel Vega, who performed “Die Walkure, Winterstrume vichen dem Wonnemond” wore an appropriate operatic like hat on stage. It was a hat with bullhorns atop.
Damian Boyn and Dane Noe played jazz duets, on piano and trombone. Boyn is the trombone player. That twosome plays around the area, including at The Wishmaker House and Black Dog Tavern.
An intermission broke up the program, and people could purchase goods from a concession stand. All proceeds from the evening’s event are going to a fundraising campaign so improvements can be made in the Opera House.
The performers ranged in age from younger high school students, to members of the older crowd.
Ackerman told the crowd he was a 70 year-old man playing a 45 year-old guitar. The crowd didn’t seem to mind that he was making that admission.
Other well-known locals showed off their skills.
Jason Potes, owner of Stoodt’s Market, is a trumpeter. He once was in The Ohio State University Marching Band.
For his appearance, he played in a brass trio with Dennis and Patricia Tuttle.
Clint Knight, a Bellville village council member, played two tunes. When he was younger, he had played in the Carolina Crown, a drum and bugle corps in South Carolina. His two numbers were “Rest Easy” and “Bottle Song.”
Knight composes some of his own music, and his performances can be seen on the web.
Several performances by younger singers seemed to liven the crowd. One song “Popular” from Wicked, was performed by vocalist Alexis Salkovich. Some in the crowd could be seen tapping their feet.
Bellville mayor Teri Brenkus had been working to get people interested in renewing use of the Opera House. Friday night’s event was the first that has been held in that location for some time.